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McLean County Considering Fixes For Voting Problems

A solution to the long wait times and registration issues experienced by voters at Illinois State University's Bone Student Center is still in progress. The McLean County Board Finance Commitee held a special meeting at ISU to address concerns from people in the community. Some of the blame for the problems was put on Senate Bill 172, which allows people to register on the day of an election. Board Member Rich Buchanan said the state hasn't provided any money to pay for that change.

"Surely the people that promoted that in our legislature recognized 'that's gonna cost a ton.' And they're so good at mandating without providing the funds," he said.

County Clerk Kathy Michael discussed some of the costs and problems associated with the addition of same day voter registration, but she says she can't continue to spend money to fix the issues.

"I can't, in good conscience, keep throwing taxpayer dollars at this very worthy cause," she said.

However, Board Member Erik Rankin says encouraging citizens to vote is a top priority.

"It's not wasting taxpayer money to pay for qualified election judges to do their jobs," he said. "That's what I want, and I think that's what they want, too."

Zachary Braun, who is a sophomore at ISU, says the meeting wasn't as productive as he thought it would be.

"I thought there would be a lot more bi-partisan efforts to help solve the voting problem in March," he said.

However, Braun says the committee did make some progress. 

"There was a lot of solutions proposed that I hope get enacted, but we need to do better with the attacking and the blaming," he added.

Kathy Michael will submit a plan this June that will look at estimated costs for the election in November, but a specific plan to address voter woes has not been established.

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